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ACBOE approves budget

Published 10:25am Monday, September 16, 2013

The Alexander City Board of Education unanimously approved the budget for fiscal year 2014 in Tuesday night’s called meeting.
Chief Financial Officer Rhonda Blythe reviewed the changes in both expenses and revenue in the $30 million budget, as compared to the budget proposed in the initial hearing, before the vote. Blythe said there were no changes in salary schedules as compared to the first budget hearing.
Revenue changes included the addition of a $4,521 grant to the gifted program and a HIPPY grant for $55,000.
The budget also saw a federal revenue change of $2,377 from Navy ROTC reimbursement and a $30,000 increase in local revenue for the Medicaid Fee For Service Program.
Other revenue and other fund source changes include a $79,877 increase in indirect costs.
Expense changes totaled $140,645 and notably included $10,500 for student tuition at the Edward Bell Career Technical Center.
Cost per student to enroll in classes at the technical center is $750, Superintendent Darrell Cooper said. Currently, there are 13 students enrolled that are transported by bus to the center.
“We’d like to have 15 … if it continues to stay low or goes lower, we may have to discontinue it, but I’d like to give it a chance,” Cooper said. “If these kids have a good experience, then the word is going to get out … and it will become even more popular.”
Other additional costs Blythe discussed were associated with the recent iPad initiative, which aims to put iPads in the hands of all schools’ students. Included in the budget were a contracted IT technician for $20,143 and support equipment (including covers for iPads) for $10,000.
Cooper said “there’s no way manpower-wise” that the school system can maintain the ever-growing technological assets without assistance. He said the system currently has one full-time IT employee and one part-time IT employee.
“Our people stay busy as it is now handling our computers, networks, projectors … If we’re really going to go and do an iPad initiative, then we’re going to need some help,” Cooper said. “This is the cheapest way to do that right now, to find some contract help.”
Notable additional expenses also included $22,359 to cover expenses associated with a new ROTC director, $16,000 in building improvement and $55,000 for the HIPPY program.
The board’s next meeting will be Tuesday, Sept. 17 at 5 p.m. in the ACBOE boardroom.

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